Buccaneers: Does WR Antonio Brown have a free agent market?
By Rob Leeds
Is it time to ask ourselves if Antonio Brown will start the season on an NFL team, much less the Buccaneers?
The fall from grace that Antonio Brown has experienced could go down in NFL history as one of the biggest ‘what if’ scenarios in the league. Brown went from being on a clear Hall of Fame pace and in consideration as one of the best players at his position ever to winning the Super Bowl and remaining unsigned in the subsequent offseason.
If you told anyone six years ago that Super Bowl champion Antonio Brown was still available nearly a month after free agency began, they’d probably laugh in your face.
Brown has brought this on himself with his antics on and specifically off the field, but the redemption tour in Tampa has made this somewhat surprising. The late addition to the Buccaneers was a great player, the ideal teammate, and nothing suggested that there was a misunderstanding in the locker room.
Antonio Brown earned a new contract in Tampa Bay
In fact, Brown’s teammates looked like they loved him. Tom Brady fed his close friend and roommate the ball at a hilarious rate in the final game of the season to get Brown some nice bonuses on his contract, and everyone else was quick to celebrate with Brown after touchdowns and big plays.
Clearly, the rest of the NFL has some trepidations about taking a chance on Brown, and rightfully so. The past few years have made it difficult to throw any money at a player that has been so unreliable. But even then, there are plenty of teams across the league that need help at receiver.
No one can say that a team like the Patriots, where the receivers couldn’t catch a cold last season, didn’t need help from an All-Pro receiver.
In the end, Brown’s future could boil down to Tom Brady. The Buccaneers obviously felt comfortable enough to bring Brown on after some assurances from Brady, and that could be the only way that Brown remains on a team.
Given the fact that the Buccaneers have brought almost everyone else back, Brown is probably not on the team now due to money, but that could quickly change in the coming weeks, and based on the intervention of Brady.
Brown makes sense on the Buccaneers for a second year on an incentive-heavy deal, but the lack of direct intervention by Brady so far, to our knowledge, could be setting the deal with Brown’s sole suitor back.
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